Google Assistant could soon get even better at recognizing what you’re saying

“Custom voice models” may be coming soon

Speech recognition is one of those modern technological miracles that we easily take for granted. This helps make the Google Assistant possible, and while it’s pretty good at picking up what you’re saying and giving precise responses, it can still sometimes struggle to understand what you’re communicating. Luckily, if you’ve found that it sometimes fails to get correct names or stumbles across other confusing terms, Google is apparently working on a fix for you.

The latest Google app update includes strings about “personalized voice recognition” for the Assistant, as 9to5Google spotted in an APK teardown. Once this goes live, the intention is for the app to start storing audio on your phone to change the voice recognition model to suit the way you speak, as well as your frequent queries. It would act as a sort of extension of the Assistant’s federated learning model for the Hey Google keyword, introduced in March 2021, for the rest of the Assistant’s queries. Disabling it would display the following text:


If you turn off this option, Assistant will recognize names and other words you say frequently less accurately. All audio files used to improve speech recognition for you will be deleted from this device.

The benefits of trying something like this seem clear. While the assistant has done quite well so far with its existing speech recognition models, there is more variation in speech than just accents, and having a speech model that constantly improves based on what he hears is probably the best approach. Also, proper nouns like names can be harder to type than other words, which can be a problem if you’re using the Assistant to message or call contacts. It’s likely part of Google’s effort to make Assistant conversations more natural, a move the company talked about during Google I/O 2022.

At the moment, however, it’s not a live feature – it was discovered during a teardown, after all. But if all goes well, we might have the chance to try it out in the next few months.

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